Erin and Her Cello
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Erin and Her Cello

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Pop Surf Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

May
12
Erin and Her Cello @ Theatre 80 St Marks

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States

Apr
16
Erin and Her Cello @ (Le) Poisson Rouge

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Feb
19
Erin and Her Cello @ UCB Theatre Chelsea

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Music

Press


Sometimes you’ve got to indulge your musical sweet tooth. Petits Bisous, the second album from cellist-singer-songwriter Erin Hall, is filled with tiny, witty songs designed to put a smile on your face. Her music is largely in the 50s/60s doo-wop template, with peppy piano lines, wandering stand-up bass lines, and light female backup vocals, an aesthetic that pairs very well with the twee stories she tells.

Hall, who performs with an 7-piece band as Erin and Her Cello, has made a name for herself with her infectiously fun live performances, thanks to her bubbly stage presence and stand-up-comedy lyrics. In her debut album, she sang about a Duane Reade cashier with freakishly large nails, going to the zoo, and falling in love on the subway.

Petits Bisous uses a similar template. The opening song, “Rebound Magnet,” is a peppy ode to being a relationship also-ran, backed with piano and jazzy sax. Hall sings in a rapid-fire, breathy style that at times makes it hard to understand what she’s saying, but as a whole it’s a bright, high-energy opener.

The rest of the songs continue in the same mold. In “Google Stock,” a joyfully avaricius Hall starts out asking for the title item as a birthday present – “It doesn’t have to cost a lot/’cause if you’re smart it was already bought/before the recession.” “Breakdancin’ Man” relates the common NYC subway experience of tolerating foul-smelling dancers on your subway ride, while “Walk of Fame” covers the trip home after a one-night stand.

As with her first album, there’s a song entirely in French – “Bonbons Chocolat” – and while some find the lyrical nature of the French language quite beautiful, I think it’s a bit of misstep. Though the title evokes the melt-in-your-mouth treats that most songs on the album resemble, the fact that the song is in French robs it of the on-the-nose cleverness that drives most of her music.

Among this batch of pretty trifles is one truly beautiful and poignant gem: “2 Good 2 B True.” Despite the unfortunate title, probably meant to evoke a text message, it’s slow jam in the doo-wop mold, about a hipster boy-girl meet-cute on New Years’ Day (“tall and lanky with a boyish smile/a touch of awkwardness to drive me wild”), with concertina and vibraphone. Her airy voice perfectly complements the bittersweet tone of the track, and it all gels beautifully.

The final track, “Just Maybe,” again finds Hall in a more romantically serious mode, and it’s another winner. This time, a bowed cello finally makes an appearance, and it’s beautiful – which raises the question: why isn’t there more cello on this album? A cello player since she was 8, Hall has a beautiful sound, but the album is sparsely populated by finger-plucked cello apart from the final track.

In the end, this a fun, lighthearted album filled with songs that wouldn’t be out of place at a children’s birthday party or a Williamsburg dinner party. Hall shows tremendous promise as a songwriter and a lyricist, as long as she continues to rely on her cello talent and skill for a clever turn of phrase. - Michael Mohammed


Erin And Her Cello
Petits Bisous
Self-Release

Erin And Her Cello is a quirky, catchy, and classically-trained music group headed by Erin Hall. Erin is joined by others on piano, sax, keyboards, drums, harpsichord, vibraphone, melodica, glockenspiel, and clapping on her latest release translated as "little kisses." The poignant melody of "The Doctor" is something straight out of the 1950's or 60's. The vocals are pop-focused and somewhat reminiscent of the Dala Girls. The content is rather comical and playful at the same time. The music is pop-oriented, but it contains a variety of instruments that give it a worldly-tone that is very endearing. The sweet melodies and vocals are right at home with the New York-based musician's French cafe music style. The metropolitan cellist combines a heady mix of tunes that only last about thirty-six minutes long. At any rate, the music is top notch and very welcoming. Buy it today! ~ Matthew Forss - Inside World Music


New York City-based Erin Hall proves that a bit of attitude can be a good thing. Like early Christine Lavin, Hall features urbane, quirky, and insouciant observations of life, the city, and popular culture. Lavin is a folkie, but Hall draws from girl groups, vintage French pop songs, jazz, calypso, blues, and rock and roll. Erin and Her Cello is the name of Hall’s band and she does indeed play the cello, but you’ll also hear everything from boogie-woogie piano to glockenspiel.

“2 Good 2 B True” has a Twittery name, but it is girl groups retro, complete with oooh-aaahh backup singers. “The Doctor” also has a girl group feel, but the instrumentation is ’50s style rockabilly supplemented by wailing sax. Satire tempered by charm is Hall’s metier, as she demonstrates on “Break Dancin’ Man,” a sardonic send-up of look-at-me performance. She also wields her lampoon harpoon on “Google Stock.”

Hall shuffles between styles like a Vegas dealer–as befits one whose musical inspirations include Peggy Lee, Cole Porter, and Serge Gainsborough. Each of them gets an airing. “Chaz” is soulful, cool jazz, whereas “Damn” moves to the black keys to lend a faint air of danger. If that doesn’t float your boat, there is Gainsborough-like French pop (“Bonbons Chocolat” and the call-and-whistle title track). How about some bouncy pop? Inappropriate attraction has never been so giddy as “Rebound Magnet.” Too sweet for your taste? Try the rocker “Walk of Fame.”

This release sparkles with wit, audacity, and boisterous fun. Score one for attitude. - Rob Weir, Valley Advocate


In the singer/songwriter category, there needs to be a sub-genre called “quirky chicks” people like Sia; you know what I’m talking about. Erin Hall fits into that category. She sings, playes the cello and her has put together a winsome collection of tunes that are infectious, post modern and whimsical.

The arrangements can range from simple Spartan arrangements such as “2 Good 2 B True” with vibes, percussion and melodica or the seriously thoughtful “Chaz” with piano and brushes framing Hall’s deep thoughts. A bit of French pop fluffs up on the title track, and all through the album a pre-Beatle rock feel permeates the songs such as “Bonbons Chocolate” and “Walk of Fame.” She does some anachronistic use of cursing to break the mood, but what do you expect these days? A half point off for that, otherwise quite clever and alluring indie bubblegum. - Jazz Weekly


The title to Erin & Her Cello’s latest record, Petits Bisous, translates to mean “little kisses,” and that’s precisely the effect of the video for the delicate, twirling “Just Maybe.” Featuring stop-motion animation by Andrea Lira, the video feels warm and winsome, flowers becoming faces, blooming and dissolving, echoing the song’s theme of emotional discovery. “Just Maybe” is a showcase for the group’s strengths: it opens with pizzicato string-plucking and Erin’s light, gliding voice, but slowly builds to something bright and heavenly, layers of vocals weaving together to create a rare, emotional magic. - Wondering Sound (Website)


Erin and Her Cello: “Just Maybe”
Earlier this year, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Erin and Her Cello released her second album, Petits Bisous, and has now debuted the music video for the final track on the album. Much of Petits Bisous features quirky chamber pop arrangements with strings and saxophones and various percussion instruments, but “Just Maybe” sticks to her name; it’s just Erin and her cello. Layers of pizzicato cello lines run underneath layers of vocals while she sings about the early part of a relationship. She’s finding joy in “finding out I could really like you.” To go along with the cute music is Andrea Lira‘s stop-motion video. The flowers rhythmically transform into faces and dance along with holding hands. It may be fall, but isn’t it always the right time for flowers, holding hands, and new love?

You can get Petits Bisous on iTunes now. - The Absolute


It’s 8 p.m. at the Ars Nova Theater, the 99-seat venue located in the heart of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, just within reach of Broadway’s glittering lights—where dreams are born, hope lives, and success stories echo eternally through the streets.
A perky 30-year-old redhead takes the stage. She cradles her cello as back-up singers fall into place behind her alongside a pianist, saxophonist, and a vibraphonist. The show is about to begin. The audience is waiting. She sings, tongue planted firmly in cheek: “I had killed a bird at Susan’s party/At the zoo/All because I chose to wear my brand new/Jelly shoes/So I will never have a birthday party/At the zoo.”
Not what you expected? Meet Erin Hall, front woman of the act she calls Erin and her Cello. That is her song.
This is her story.
Quirky, vivacious, and undeniably unique, the singer, songwriter, and cellist is fusing the things she loves to do most (musical theater and, of course, cello) in order to do what every inspired performer must: device a plan to “make it.” In the process, she’s stumbled upon a wonderfully innovative way to set herself apart from the pack.
“I feel like a writer of lyrics, definitely. To be able to combine that with my cello, and still play my cello, and be myself is amazing,” Hall says. “I still get to be myself on stage. I don’t have to be anyone else.”
But Hall also notes that she never sat down and made an overt attempt to take her cello where no cello had gone before. This isn’t her shtick; it’s her passion. And it all came together quite organically, with a dash of serendipity.
Let’s go back a bit.
Hall remembers the day she first fell in love with the cello. She was in fifth grade and the local middle-school orchestra had performed at her elementary school. Captivated by the cello section, Hall, then a violin player, pleaded with her orchestra to trade up. Of course she could, was the response, but with one caveat: Hall must attend summer school.
She couldn’t and to this day Hall believes the mandatory summer tutelage was a play to deter her from taking up the instrument. Regardless, love conquered all. In the end, Hall wound up with a cello and a beautiful friendship unfolded.
Hall had always sung in the choir, but it was a breakthrough role, that of Miss Adelaide in her high school’s production of Guys and Dolls, that opened an unforeseen door into the world of musical theater. That door never quite closed, though she continued to pursue her cello studies.
After high school, Hall enrolled at the University of Idaho, where she completed two years of cello performance classes on a full scholarship. But her interest in musical theater beckoned, and eventually Hall left her hometown of Boise for New York City, leaving behind a full scholarship, but looking ahead to a new future.
“I just didn’t feel that the classical route was for me,” she says of her cello studies. “And the more I realized that, I didn’t honestly put the practice time in and wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted.”
She auditioned successfully at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy on Manhattan’s Upper West side, before graduating in 2003 with a bachelor of fine arts from the New School. She dived headlong into New York’s musical theater scene, auditioning for roles whenever and wherever, and, more often than not, coming up empty-handed.
“It was like I was number 130,” she laments. “You have two minutes to go in and tell them how great you are, in song, and then you’re done. It was just depressing.”
It took a bit of time to adjust to Manhattan’s manic pace of life. No one said it was going to be easy, but was it supposed to be this hard?
She also began missing her cello.
After working with acoustic ensembles around Manhattan, Hall was asked unexpectedly to play at an actor’s reading series called Tuesdays at 9. It meant Hall had to compose for the very first time. She was terrified. But with her trusty cello at her side, she knew she could traverse the line that would bring her from simply playing, to playing and composing.
“What happened is with the first song, they laughed,” she recalls. “And the second song, they laughed and laughed and laughed.”
Much of Hall’s material is borne out of the love-hate relationship nearly everyone has with the insomniac’s city, drawing upon everyday life’s stories to fill her sets. And while many of her songs do focus on the funnier side of the life, Hall’s songs can take an unexpected tender and poignant turn at a moment’s notice.
“Bitten Me Bad” is definitely playful, and illustrates the young musician’s gift of the written and spoken work. But it is also a sincere ode to the oft-exasperating emotion that is anticipation, in this case, anticipating whether your latest crush plans to mend or break your bleeding heart.
“This ain’t a bit from a little cat (meow)/No honey, your bite is much larger than that/This an’t a bit from a basse - Strings Magazine


Remember that cute girl who lived in the next dorm over, the one you
used to see on the subway with her cello or scribbling in a notebook
in the laundromat? Remember how it was always a lift to talk to her
and hear her talk about Chinese food or the clerk with the skeevy long nails at the pharmacy? It was only long after that you realized you
were madly in love with her, but even that pang of nostalgic loss made you feel oddly happy. Cellist and singer Erin Hall's exquisitely
crafted, quirky pop songs provide the soundtrack to those kinds of
reveries. Yep, she writes about the pharmacy clerk and delicious
Chinese buns, and one of her best is a bluesy ode to delights of
fresh, clean towels. In short, she knows what's important. Sounds
like? Blossom Dearie fronting They Might Be Giants. - The Philadelphia Inquirer


Erin Hall won’t be pigeonholed. Idaho-born but a New Yorker for the past 10 years, she’s had a winding journey tying together the threads of music, vocals, comedy, and storytelling into a unique package – one that keeps evolving.

Listening to Erin’s witty pop songs (which verge on blues, jazz, doo-wop, and folk) is like tuning into the stream of consciousness of a single city-dweller – albeit one who knows how to delight in the details. Erin infuses otherwise mundane parts of urban life – the laundromat, those delicious little buns in Chinatown, fellow subway riders – with charming commentary and twee melodies. “I don’t often know what promotes [the songwriting],” Erin said. “I just love to laugh.”

Erin graduated from the New School with a musical theater degree and a background in cello (beginning at age 8), but her foray into songwriting came as “sort of a fluke.” Erin had decided against a career as a professional cellist, and the city’s competitive musical theater realm was taking a toll on her self-esteem.

Then a friend asked her to perform a few pieces on her cello for a weekly dramatic reading series called Tuesdays@9, which hosts writers, directors, and occasional musical guests. “It was my first time writing something,” said Erin. “I was really scared.” That night Erin debuted two comedic creations: “On My Stoop” and “Irene,” both of which would later appear on her 2008 self-titled album. The audience ate up her musical tales of Duane Reade cashiers with icky long nails (“spirals of blue and green”) and love reveries mixed with lines like “I’d even go to the zoo/…Sometimes monkeys go poo/Their cages smell really bad/But it would not make me sad/Because I’d be with you.”

Tuesdays at Nine was a light bulb moment for Erin, when all her talents finally combined into one spectacular show. “Very Thomas Edison!” Erin nodded. She continued performing in comedy clubs, but eventually transitioned to mainly music venues. “I like [music venues] a lot better because there isn’t the same pressure to make someone laugh,” said Erin. “My songs are funny, but I’m first and foremost a musician – almost more so a lyricist. I have a great time telling stories and playing with words.”



Erin continues to flesh out the musical depth of her act by using a full band these days, sometimes with brass and backup singers. “From a musical standpoint, bass lines on the cello can only go so far,” Erin explained. “Now I want to play with a band all the time, because it’s too much fun.” Working with other musicians, Erin is able to experiment more with instrumentation and composition – and benefit from the added stage energy of a group. “Jokes become more of call-and-response, which is really fun,” said Erin.

Not that Erin herself doesn’t have enough vivacity and presence to captivate an audience alone. Her propensity to perform (no doubt polished by her musical theater studies) is what makes her such a joy to watch. Erin is too humble to admit she’s got the charm of indie darling Zooey Deschanel (if she could play cello). “I’d play with M. Ward if he’d have me!” she chirped. Erin has a genuine sweetness to her that makes her approachable and endearing – with the sort of quirkiness as effortless and natural as her two-tone spirals. Her light, airy voice seems always on the verge of a laugh, and she doesn’t hesitate to ham it up for the camera and act silly.

Erin’s sunny personality might match her comedic pop songs, but she’s dipping into more serious subject matter of late. “The more I’ve been writing, the more I’m not trying to tell a joke,” she says. “I guess it’s the songwriting journey. You don’t know what you’re going to get.” Among the repertoire Erin has built around heartache and disappointment are “Too Good to Be True” and the aptly titled “This Isn’t Funny.” While fans have seen these songs performed at her recent shows, Erin plans to include them on her next album – which she expects to record before the end of the year. “It will still be cute and fun and have a lot of charm,” Erin assured me. “But it’s always good to throw people for a loop. As many people have laughed, have cried.”

Currently, Erin is working with a team from Go Folk Yourself to create a music video for her track “Sober” – a rollicking, humorous love song that’s a crowd favorite at her shows. For more details and information on upcoming shows, visit Erin online at erinandhercello.com, and listen to some of her music there or on her myspace. - Go Folk Yourself, www.folkyourself.com


My last stop for the night was at Googie’s Lounge to see Erin and Her Cello. Erin Hall has this charming ability to take the banal (i.e., a fleeting subway crush and the need for clean towels) and make a great song with a touch of humor. Backed by a six-piece band, she plucked her cello pizzicato, giving her music a jazzier, cabaret-like sound, as she glided in and out of singing in English and French. The comedic, entertaining show was a great way to unwind after a day of running.

I can’t wait for day two of CMJ! Can you? - The Deli Magazine


The Many Faces of Erin Hall
Cellist Erin Hall blends comedy, music, theatre -- and funny faces
June 09, 2006
By Anna Bengel

Erin Hall is silly. She's also a self-professed "kook" who got dropped on her head as a baby and once, accidentally, killed a bird at a childhood birthday party at the zoo. Now Hall is using her experiences and distinctive sense of humor to create a type of performance art that almost defies description.

Hall plays the cello, and her act encompasses a vibrant mix of music, comedy, and theatre. Her songs cross many genres, including heavy metal and the blues. Her lyrics run the gamut between the sublime and the ridiculous, but she draws audiences with her ability to describe ordinary experiences in ways that are both poignant and funny.

"When I first started writing, because I was so confused, I just wrote a song about things that I thought were funny," Hall says. "I wrote a song about towels, about fresh clean towels. How great they are" -- she breaks into song -- "I love fresh, clean towels/I could wash them everyday/But I live in New York City/And to wash you've got to pay." Hall goes on, "And it's a blues song, so it's really low. And people start laughing, because it's the blues, but I'm singing about towels."

Hall started on the cello in sixth grade, in her hometown of Boise, but she never aspired to be a classical, or orchestral, cellist. She was more interested in integrating different styles of music with her acting background. (Hall did musical theatre in high school and later in college at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, on the West Side.) There's something particularly theatrical about Hall's act.

"I make faces," Hall says, "When I sing, I make faces. I'm silly -- and I'm not afraid to look silly." Facial expressions are important to the comedy, or to convey a sense of friendliness or sadness or fear.


"The most important thing on her shows is her lyrics, and her facial expression," explains Aya Kato, the piano player in Hall's band. "I'm having so much fun playing with her. Her songs are so peaceful and warm, and her shows make you feel like you are at your home."

When Hall started writing songs, just a few years ago, it wasn't out of a need to be funny, and, in fact, many of her songs aren't. The first song she ever wrote, "On My Stoop," is a charming, lighthearted, yet deeply personal tune about sitting on her stoop daydreaming of someone and feeling giddy as she sees a little girl skipping by. (She wrote the song after being invited to play at a weekly reading series, sponsored by the Naked Angels, and was too scared to get up on stage and just play the cello.) In "Bitten Me Bad," Hall sings about the intensity of falling of love: "I feel like I'm losing a shark attack/Honey why you keep making me wait/I feel like you're dangling me like I was bait. Bitten me bad, yes so, so bad/Just don't be the best thing that I ever had."

And then there are the other songs: "Irene," for example, about the scary long fingernails on a Duane Reade checkout girl; "Tiny Buns," about a certain delicious Chinese food; and a catchy, upbeat tune about a smelly break dancer on the subway. But played for laughs or not, the songs all touch on tiny moments and situations that amuse audiences with their candor and wit.

"She's so honest with what she does," says Jason Eagan, artistic director of Ars Nova, the 99-seat theatre where Hall has been a regular since she first played there several years ago. "People appreciate that and relate to it. Her approach is encouraging and inspiring [because] she'll just be this unique person she is on stage." That the songs are almost always New York City-specific is engaging and intimate as well; after hearing his now-favorite tune, "Subway Crush," Eagan encouraged Hall to write a "little suite of subway songs," because they go over with audiences so well.

Right now, Hall is busy planning an upcoming show at Ars Nova in which she'll bring together musicians with whom she's worked in off-off-Broadway musicals and various other music and theatre venues. Her material works better in a theatre than a bar, Hall explains, because the audience is seated and can better appreciate the act. "I've been able to sort of meld the comedic world and the music world," Hall says. "It's storytelling."

Making a living off storytelling -- musical, comedic, theatrical or otherwise -- certainly isn't easy, but Hall, like all true actors and performers, isn't stopping. She's also on the verge of recording her first demo CD, of four or five songs.

"I'm just doing my stuff, and I'm creating everything," Hall says. "I'm the director and the writer and the actor, so if I fail, I fail in every regard. But if I'm successful, I'm successful in every aspect too. So it's really great.

"Just putting yourself out there and trying something new or something different will always be beneficial, even if you fail."


Hall's new show, E - www.backstage.com


"...the standout of the night is clearly Erin and her Cello - an NYC babe with a spunky personality and crystal clear voice who can rock a cello like it’s a Stratocaster guitar.

From the moment she steps on the stage, Erin (full name: Erin Hall) is immediately and effervescently charming. As she bows her cello gracefully, she offers cute, catchy folk rock melodies that occasionally flare up in dramatics, describing the banal and often overlooked details of everyday life – “Irene”, the annoying, long-nailed cashier at Duane Reade, the delicious “tiny buns” at her favorite Chinatown bakery, and the mad frustration of never having enough quarters to wash her towels regularly. (“I live in NYC, and to wash you have to pay,” she croons.)

There’s a childishness and playfulness to her performance, especially on numbers like “Subway Crush” –describing the sexy mysterion on the Number 3 train—and “Un Petit Problème”, an adorable French number where she details (in French!) her nerves about telling a crush how she feels.

Hall is joined by Jeanina Butterfield on violin and Jean-Paul Norpoth on guitar, but really, it’s impossible to take your eyes off her. For her final number, “Sober”, she has the audience sing along to the chorus:

“I love you sober
And I love you hung over
I don’t need whiskey
To let you hug and kiss me”

The crowd joins in merrily, and the show ends on a happy note. This is comedic rock at its finest – delivering a smile to every face in the crowd."

-Kate Bracaglia
- Philly.Com/ Phrequency


http://www.newsun.com/erin.html - www.newsun.com


Discography

Erin and her Cello: Petits Bisous 
Released July 31, 2014
11 Tracks 

Erin and her Cello: Erin and her Cello
Debut Album
9 Tracks available on itunes, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com.


Photos

Bio

"We get nowhere near enough humor within really good music, but Erin & Her cello have come to the rescue" -AcousticMusic.com

"Sounds like? Blossom Dearie fronting They Might be Giants."
- The Philadelphia Enquirer.

Erin and Her Cello have been charming audiences with their quirky, vivacious, and undeniably unique (Strings Magazine) performances all over New York.  Skillfully melding multiple genres of music-- from French Pop, 60's rock, funk, and even a bit of blues-- Erin and her Cello are adoringly different. Their sophomore album,  “Petits Bisous,” (7/31/14)  packs a delightful retro punch -- playfully melding doo-wop, surf rock, jazz, and french pop. In addition, this winner of Stand Up NY’s “Music is a Joke” contest, (and darling of the downtown comedy scene) underscores every song with a dash of humor.  The trick is--you really do need to see Erin and her Cello live. There is simply no act that marries great music and hilarious lyrics the way that Erin and her Cello do. All that--and you won't be able to stop smiling, too.

"Erin is using her experiences and distinctive sense of humor to create a type of performance art that almost defies description." Anna Bengel, Backstage.com.

Erin Hall, the cellist and singer-songwriter behind the group, attributes their music to her own eclectic taste in music, her love of of storytelling (in song,) and her obsession with comedy. Citing musical influences that include Cole Porter, Ray Charles, Serge Gainsbourg, and comedian Gilda Radner, Erin's audience would have to agree. 

"Erin is a hilarious chic with a sense of humor as finely tuned as her cello--she wields her bow with the same wit and savvy that a satirist wields his pen!"
- Doug Wright, Pulitzer Prize Winner, I Am My Own Wife

“If you’ve never heard of Erin and Her Cello, you’re missing out on some of the funniest stuff out there. Seriously, I almost spit my beer out of my nose and onto my camera-- twice.” Chris Owyoung,www.onelouderphoto.com

Band Members